Staying in contact with home

Two girls looking at their iPad

Moving to a new country to study is an exciting time full of adventure and new experiences. It’s normal to feel homesick during your time abroad, but with the help of technology you’ll be able to study in Perth and keep in touch with loved ones at home.

Using your phone in Australia

If you already have a mobile phone, it is best to purchase a SIM card when you arrive in Australia, as using your home phone number in Australia will incur high costs. Most mobile phone companies in Australia, including Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, offer pre-paid options, as well as plans which require you to sign a contract. You’ll be able to choose the best option to suit your needs depending on how much you are willing to spend, how much data you will require, and if you will need unlimited international calls.

Access to WiFi

As a Murdoch student, you will be able to enjoy free WiFi on campus. If you are staying at the Murdoch University Village, you will also have access to free WiFi at the accommodation. Some public areas provide free WiFi, including Perth city, Fremantle city, the airport, major shopping centres and fast food chains.

Dialling international numbers

To make international phone calls while you are in Australia, you will need to dial 0011 followed by the country code, area code (if applicable) and then the phone number. If your family or friends wish to call you from outside Australia, they will need to dial the international access code for their country, followed by Australia’s country code (61), the area code (8) and then your phone number. Before you or your family and friends make any calls, make sure you all check your phone plans to ensure there will not be any hidden or high costs associated with international calls.

Set up a time each week to call home

It is easy to get caught up in your new life in Perth, but it is important to remain connected with your loved ones at home. Even though they may be far away, they can still be a great support – especially on the days you miss home.

Once you get your head around your university timetable, study load, work hours and social life with your new friends, set some time aside to connect with your friends and family back home. Find a day and time each week you can video call and set reminders in your phone so you never miss a chat.

Take time zones into account

Perth is in the same time zone as 60 per cent of the world, but if your home country is in the remaining 40 per cent, you may want to set one of the clocks on your phone to your home country’s time zone, so you always know what time it is there.

Also consider turning your phone to silent at night time, so you don’t wake up to messages from friends and family at home contacting you while you are trying to sleep! 

Speak to multiple people at once

Do you have a close group of friends or a few family members that you talk to about the same things? Then group video chats could be your new best friend!

Keeping in touch with your friends and family back home may get overwhelming if you’re receiving hundreds of messages each week from different people asking how you are and what you are up to. A good way of dealing with this is to set up a group video chat and talk to all your friends or family at once. You could use FaceTime, Skype, Houseparty or Google Hangouts, to name a few.

To avoid getting notifications on many different channels, have a chat to your friends and family about what your preferred method of communication is. Figure out which ones work best for you and encourage your family and friends to use them too.

Keep in touch with your loved ones in multiple ways

Phone calls, messaging and video chats are just a few of the many ways you can stay in touch with your loved ones while you are studying in Australia.

You could create a blog to write about your journey in Perth, set up a YouTube account and upload videos showing your experiences, and upload posts to your Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or other social media accounts daily. There is so much to see and do in Perth, why not even send a postcard from each of your adventures?

Connecting to loved ones at home is important, but so is finding connections to home in Perth. Find out where you can get a taste of your home country’s cuisine or if there’s a Murdoch student club that celebrates your country or culture.

Posted on:

6 Apr 2020

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